Mind and Body

Improving your odds for winter weight loss

Your new calendar year probably began with promises of better health, weight loss, and more exercise. 

Although a cleanse, detox or juice fast may seem like a great jump-start to any health resolution, that may not be the best idea. So, I've come up with some of my best and most effective ways to shed holiday weight gain during the winter months. This three-part series will cover the essentials of what to eat and why, give you an optimal winter supplement protocol, and show you the best exercises to do, all in the warmth and comfort of your home.

It’s important to know our bodies have different needs during the winter months. Starting the wrong diet when your body needs the most nourishment may actually cause more harm than good. Cleanses and juice fasts are best left for the warmer spring and summer months. That isn’t to say you can’t lose weight when it’s cold; just make the right food decisions. We need to keep our bodies warm during the cold months. 

Traditional Chinese medicine says eating cooling summer foods in the winter creates dampness in our bodies and can lead to gas, bloating, cold hands and feet, and blood stagnation. The easiest way to avoid this is to eat what’s in season where you live. Here is a quick guide:

Northeast/ Midwest: Nothing is growing now, but there are plenty of root vegetables and apples available from harvest throughout the year. Root vegetables include carrots, onions, parsnips, potato, rutabagas, turnips and winter squash. Warming bone broths and stews are a great choice and are high in vitamins and minerals. Fermented foods including sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles and picked beets are also a great winter choice.

West Coast: Milder temperatures bring a much wider winter bounty. Arugula, avocado, beets, celery, collards, escarole, artichokes, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery root, lettuce, potato, rutabagas, spinach, winter squash, sweet potato, apples, Clementines, grapefruit, lemon, mandarin, persimmon and tangerines are all available in winter.

Southern states: You may have fewer options depending on how much temperatures drop. In perfect growing conditions, you can find apples and root vegetables, collards, leafy greens, kale, lettuce, spinach, winter squash, sweet potato, apples, grapefruits and oranges.

For maximum weight loss, stick to leafy greens and limit your fruit intake to one per day. Eliminate processed foods that don’t provide adequate nutrition and stick with full-fat dairy. This may sound counterintuitive, but low-fat foods tend to have more sugar and less nutritional value, leaving your body craving more. 

Small amounts of fat fill us up quickly, which makes them a great choice. Healthy fats like Omega 3s, found in fatty fish and grass-fed beef, even help boost the metabolism. Including protein and fat in your diet will help avoid spikes in blood sugar while providing a steady stream of energy throughout the day so you’ll be less tempted to eat unhealthy foods.

Jacqueline Banks is a certified holistic health counselor and busy mother.  Her focus is on helping other busy moms in all stages of motherhood keep themselves and their little ones healthy and happy.  She uses natural and organic solutions to solve individual health problems and promote clean living. Check out her website at www.jbholistic.com